Posts tagged upcycling
New In: Salvage Collection - Jumpsuits
salvage jumpsuits-01.jpg

You may have read our first salvage collection story about our runner shorts (read it here) and you will be pleased to know that we turned some dresses into jumpsuits.

vic_n_lily_salvage jumpsuits-02.jpg

As with all our salvage projects once we take the garments apart we are able to see what exactly we have to play with, allowing us to use the fabric in the most effective way. All handmade in our studio here in Berlin we think the results are some fine looking garments, hopefully you agree.

vic_n_lily_salvage jumpsuits-03.jpg

These will be available here very soon.

Happy day to ya…vx

How to...Make your own bralet

IMG_5523A I came across some beautiful embroidered silk blouses awhile back but unfortunately they were too damaged to wear (sad face). After seeing some customized bralets over on Pinterest I thought that it would be the perfect way to use the fabrics from these blouses ( I hate waste) and make my very own. I am a huge fan of the bralet as they are pretty enough that if they can be seen its not so offensive (unlike the t-shirts bras my mother sends me, love you mum) and they are functional too.

So here is how to make your own bralet:

What you will need:


Template - I am using a store bought one as a template (size small) that I picked up at Urban Outfitters.

Fabric - I used embroidered silk but most lightweight fabrics will do.


1" Elastic - for band

1/4" Elastic for straps

Hoops & Buckles

Hook & Eye


Sewing Machine & Thread - can also be achieved by hand if desired.


Step 1.


[gallery type="square" ids="788,786,787"]

Using the template as a guide cut out two identical (or as close as you can for patterned fabrics) triangles from both the main fabric and the mesh leaving a seam allowance of 1/2" / 1cm around. Mark where the dart will be with some chalk or notches.

*measurements are roughly 6 1/4" on two sides and 7 1/2" on the bottom*

Taking one main fabric and one mesh triangle, fold in half with the right sides facing each other. Tack from top to bottom along the dart line and then sew to secure.

Once sewn fold out and press.

Repeat on the other side.

Step 2.


Folding both sides of one triangle in towards the mesh side 1/4" tack along the edge then stitch to secure, I chose to use the straight stitch here but a zigzag stitch would've worked too.

Repeat on other triangle.

Step 3.

[gallery type="square" ids="790,791,792"]

Taking the wider elastic (1") cut the length long enough to fit around your chest comfortably, for me it is 24"(+2" for hook & eye fastening). Fold in half and lay flat, take a pin and mark the centre.

With right sides facing down place the two triangle on the elastic, one 1/2" either side of the pin, set 1/2" from the bottom edge. Tack the triangles in place, then sew. Using your stitch of choice, again I went for a straight stitch.

Step 4.

[gallery type="square" ids="793,794,795,796"]

Fold the top of each triangle over 1/4" and stitch to secure.

Taking the thinner elastic (1/4") cut two lengths,  18" long and the other 1 1/2" long. Taking 1 of the plastic buckles feed one end of the long elastic through and fold 1/2". Stitch to secure. Using the plastic hoop feed the elastic through and fold towards you and feed through the buckle. Take this loose end and sew it to the top of the of on of the triangles, ensure that it is attached securely - I tested this with a couple of light pulls.

[gallery type="square" ids="797,798,799"]

Now take the shorter length of elastic, tack to wide elastic band on the same side as the triangle that you have just attached the strap to. Set about 3 1/2" from the edge. Fold the loose end through the same plastic loop and tack again to the wide band leaving 1/4" loop, trimming the excess. Secure the loose end on the wide band. One strap complete.

Repeat on the other side.

Step 5.

[gallery type="square" ids="801,802,803"]

Last step is to attach the fastening. I opted for a single  hook & eye but snap fasteners could work just the same. Folding over the edge of the elastic 1/2" at each end stitch the 'eye' to the left hand side and the 'hook' to the right. Add a row of stitching to the elastic to secure.

And you are done!

vic&lily bralet DIY


I think I want to make more...


How to make use of Scraps...Leather

As you have probably guessed I don't really like to throw much away especially when it comes to bits of fabric. Call me a hoarder if you like but I try and re-use/upcycle as many scraps into something also helps the environment and saves a few pennies too!

So, the other day I picked up these vintage leather trousers and made them into shorts. I was able to do so without any sewing - yay! However, I was left with two 'legs' of leather. Too much to toss out so I got to thinking...what can I make out of this?

I have come up with not 1 but 3 things I can do with said scraps (rather impressed with myself). The first of these ideas is a leather clutch, super simple and easy to do (hopefully). The other two ideas will be shared over the coming weeks, promise.

So here is today's 'How To'...leather clutch from scraps...

What you will need:

Scrap of leather or fabric.

Sharp scissors

Tape measure


Hole punch (I used an ice pick)

Needle n' thread

Stud with screw attachment

Metal edges - if desired

Step 1.

Take one leg or scrap of leather/fabric and open up and lay flat, face side down.

I decided I wanted to make an envelope style clutch so I made a rough template as a guide:

I pinned it to the fabric and cut around the edges.

Step 2.

Using the template as a guide fold the side edges in first and press the leather with a hot iron - be sure to be careful when using the iron.

Repeat with remaining folds. One complete up pin the template and remove.

Step 3.

Pin the bottom flap (one with straight edge) to the side flaps. Taking a needle and thread sew along the edge for about 3" / 8cm. Do this on both sides.

You could use fabric glue for this if you are not confident with sewing or the leather is too tough.

Step 4.

Taking the metal corner edges slide one on each bottom corner. Using a small scrap place over the corner (to protect the metal) and press firmly with pliers. Repeat on other side.

This step can be skipped if you don't want/have metal corners.

Step 5.

Using the template or your eye as a guide mark and punch a hole through the top and bottom flap. Also punch a hole through a small square scrap. The scrap will help to secure the screw stud from ripping through the leather.

Taking the screw part of the stud pop it through the scrap then the bottom of the clutch then screw the stud on until its tight.

Step 6.

If like me your hole punched a hole a little small for your stud, snip the leather in a cross and the stud should go through easier.

And viola! All what to put in it?!

Happy Wednesday Everyone!


How to: Make use of Scrap Fabric - Clutch
IMG_2434 copy

When I saw these strips of fabric I knew that I would be able to make something, I don't really like waste and this fabric was quite fun. I decided that the bold colours and patterns would make a great little clutch. So here is what I did...

Step 1.

I divided the strips into two piles, one for each side of the clutch. Each strip was about an 1 1/2" wide and 6" long. I laid them flat and overlapped the edges. Pinning them in place.

There is around 16 strips for one side.

Step 2.

As I wanted this to be quite a rustic look in keeping with the fabric I chose to use a zigzag stitch on the sewing machine in a contrast red thread.

If you don't have a machine this could easily be done by hand using any stitch that will secure the strips together.

Repeat Steps 1&2 for other side.

Step 3.

For a fastening for the clutch I chose a zip. To attach the zip, I placed the zip right side down facing the right side of the clutch panel. Pin in place then stitch to secure. Repeat for the other side.

Step 4.

Now with the panels attached to the zip, face the right sides together and pin along the edges.

Ensure that the zip is open so that you can turn it the right way when sewn.

Step 5.

Tidy up the loose thread and it's finished! Then all that is left to do is decide what to use it for...

note: you can choose to line this if you are looking for a more finished piece. Just cut your chosen lining to the size of the finished panels and sew together along 3 edges. Turn out and attach to finished bag along opening under zip.

What will you use yours for?


Vintage: Quick Fix

If like me you are unfortunate enough to discover that a cute vintage dress has actually got stains on its sleeves then fret not! It is easily fixed guessed it, removing them. The dress in question was this spotty little number:

It actually has raglan sleeves which made this transformation slightly trickier than a usual set in sleeve. What I decided to do was remove the sleeve up to the smocked yoke. This allows for some of the shoulder to be covered - ideal for hiding bra straps!

I left 1/4" around the armhole, then turned it inside and used the sewing machine to secure. This could also be done by hand sewing too.

Now it looks really cute, don't you think?

*Getting rid of sleeves is also an instant update to any piece whether it be a dress or blouse. Try it out.


How to: Making use of Scrap Fabric - Backpack

Remember the blog post (read it here) of turning the dress to a cropped top? Well there was a lot of fabric (a whole skirt in fact) left over. And not one to throw anything away I did some brainstorming of what I could use if for. The print is really cute and with a trend arising for backpacks I thought, why not! So here is my Scrap to Backpack How to:

I decided to use all of one side of the skirt for this project, but you could use whatever size you like depending on how big a bag you would like. You will also need 1" wide Herringbone tape and 3/8" wide cord/rope, both in colours that compliment the fabric.

Step 1.

Firstly, I folded the fabric in half, right side of fabric together. Pinning the along the edges to hold in place.

Step 2.

You could do this step by hand if you do not have a sewing machine. Starting with short side first, sew 1/2" from the edge all the way up to the hem* of the original skirt.

*If you are using just a square of fabric and do not have an original hem to utilize. Single turn a 1/4" press then turn 3/4" press then sew. This should be done before sewing around the edges.

Step 3.

Turn bag the right way round and decide on what length the backpack needs to be (if you have not already done so). For this I folded the excess over, to act as flap.

Step 4.

Measure out the length of the straps on the herringbone tape. For me, I cut two lengths, 27" long.

Step 5.

Then pin straps to back of back, folding each end of strap 1/2" to secure raw edges.

Straps are set 7" apart. Stitch the straps to the back of the bag to secure.

Step 6.

Next, measure out the length of cord that is needed for around the top of your bag.

Ensure that one side is double knotted and the other is taped to stop if unwinding and making it easier to feed through the tunnel.

Feed the cord through the tunnel, knot the other end and remove tape.

And ta da!

Perfect lightweight backpack for yoga, beach and groceries!

What do you think? Will you try turning your scrap fabric into a new backpack?


5 Top Tips: Seeing Potential in Vintage

Finding that perfect vintage item is always the wish of any vintage shopper but more often than not we are left empty handed. However, it doesn't always have to be this way! Even the most novice of upcyclers can look for the potential in less than perfect vintage. All you have to do is ask yourself these 5 questions:

1. how difficult would it be to change?

2. is there cute details/trims/buttons?

3. does it have a fun print?

4. are there any stains/imperfections?

5. is the fabric good quality?

a great example would be this spotty dress:

Polka dots are always fun and will find their way into any trend. The buttons are cute and slightly asymmetrical and there are pleats down the centre front. It's a lightweight summer fabric, no stains (always a plus). The silhouette is fairly simple, it has lost the elastic waist it once had however making it too large - and looks it. First impressions mean everything.

To breathe life back into this spotty gem i decided to give it back the elasticated waist, giving it more shape instantly.

Next step, i shortened it - always a great way to update. As the skirt has a lining I sewed this first ensuring that the length is about 2cm/1" shorter than the outer layer. Then do the same to the outer layer.

I wasn't originally going to change anything else but after a quick try on (always a good idea) I decided that the sleeves would look better being shorter. I cheated here and just turned, pressed and sewed the fold.

And voila! a wearable and I'd even say adorable vintage piece!

What do you think?

I only needed to use basic sewing skills to achieve this, the trickiest part was knowing how much elastic to use.

Extra tip: If the garment already has a 'tunnel' for elastic at the waist simply remove old one, if any then measure how much elastic is need to go round your waist comfortably and cut it to length. Feed one end through the tunnel (attach to a chopstick, works a treat) and then sew both ends of elastic to the dress to secure.

how to: update a tired shirt

i found this little shirt whilst vintage hunting a few days ago. first glance it is quite plain but i could see the potential with a few upcycling tricks. statement collars are a great way to update any shirt, this is how i transformed mine...

1. firstly i removed the sleeves...luckily for me the armhole was topstitched so there was no extra finishing required.

(if you do have to finish the armhole: remove the sleeve leaving enough to turn in and topstitch around)

2. using some hot fix squares (you can use any kind of beading/embellishment)

i laid out different designs on the collar before deciding in which one i liked best.

3. once final design has been decided use a super hot iron applied with pressure to attach them. this should take around 2-3minutes.

note: if you choose to use hot fix, be careful when using super hot irons. if you touch them - ouch!

4. and your done!

please note that this will now be a handwash item due to the delicate collar.